Should Boris Johnson be sacked for his mistakes?
By Joe Harker
Boris Johnson can be a bit of a buffoon, but he has also been downright incompetent at times in his position as foreign secretary.
Prime Minister Theresa May appointed him, perhaps trusting in the wisdom of "keep your friends close but your enemies closer" or hoping that she was giving Johnson enough rope to hang himself. However, despite several blunders in the post his popularity has not dropped much and the prime minister is in a far weaker position than he is.
His latest mistake could be lethally stupid. When speaking to a Commons Committee about British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, imprisoned in Iran on charges of being a spy, he said she had been training journalists in Tehran. Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's defence is insistent that she was only in the country to visit relatives, meaning that Johnson's blunder could add several years to her prison sentence. He intends to negotiate a release on humanitarian grounds, but his words could complicate the issue.
The Times reports that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family have become involved in a stand off with the Foreign Office because of Johnson's comments. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, has said there is a "direct link" between the foreign secretary's comments and a new court session where she was accused of "propaganda against the regime".
While there have been calls to sack Johnson for his mistake, Theresa May has stood by him. However, if she does not sack him for this then it could make it impossible for the her to sack other members of her cabinet.
James O'Brien of LBC believes that Johnson committed a "sackable offence" with his latest blunder and should be fired, if he is not then it indicates a weakness on the prime minister's part. He said: "Boris Johnson has imperiled the very life of a British citizen, but he's still foreign secretary.
"And if the prime minister can't police her own cabinet, what chance is there for the country?"
The Daily Telegraph has reported that Johnson will "just say no" if Mrs May attempts to sack him. There is a power struggle in the cabinet with the two often at loggerheads and she is in a weak enough position that he could conceivably refuse to depart his role. He could attempt to destabilise May if she took actions against him and has enough supporters in the Tory party that he could cause problems for the prime minister.